HC Deb 09 July 1875 vol 225 cc1249-67

in rising to call attention to the Report from the Select Committee (July 1874)— Appointed to inquire into the circumstances attending the withdrawal of the allowances granted to Consular Chaplains under the provisions of the Act 6 Geo. 4, c. 87; and to move— That in the opinion of this House, the withdrawal of Government Grants in aid of the maintenance of Consular Chaplains under the provisions of the Act 6 Geo. 4, c. 87, is uncalled for and inexpedient, and should be re-considered by Her Majesty's Government, said, that the grants to Consular Chaplains amounted for many years past, and in 1873, to about £7,000 a-year. In 1874 they were reduced to £4,500, and in this year the sum asked for in the Estimates was only £2,250. Although he was favourable to economy in the public expenditure, he submitted that the reduction in the Vote was inexpedient and unnecessary. Formerly, the Chaplains whose ministrations were principally required for a fluctuating population of British seamen were paid out of dues upon British merchandize. In 1825 an Act was brought in by Mr. Huskisson, which placed the Consular Chaplaincies on a more satisfactory basis. The tonnage dues were abolished, and in their place were substituted allowances which were settled by the Foreign Secretary, and partly based upon local efforts, as in the Education Vote. Thus 42 Chaplains, churches, and burial grounds were subsidized at a cost to the country of7 a little over £200 a-year each. It was fondly hoped by the hon. Members who supported Her Majesty's Government that there would be a re-consideration of this question, especially as the withdrawal of these grants was an uncalled for and spontaneous action on the part of Lord Granville. No hon. Members of the House had asked him to take that course, nor had a single objection been made to the vote by any section of politicians. By that withdrawal he simply carried out his own view. When the present Government came into office, a deputation waited upon Lord Derby on this subject; but great was the disappointment of that deputation. The only thing they gained was a promise that a Committee should consider the circumstances attending the withdrawal of these grants. The Committee sat and considered two grievances in relation to the question—first, the hardships of the individual Chaplains; second, the loss sustained by the communities interested in their maintenance. He had no desire now to refer to the former; but, as regarded the latter grievance, the evidence given before the Committee was all one way, and the Report of the Committee was another way. Seventeen places at which these Chaplains had been appointed had sent expostulations to the Government against the withdrawal of these grants. It was proved beyond question that the services of these Chaplains were useful to all denominations, and that being so, he would ask what was the opinion of the House and the country with regard to providing spiritual assistance in these cases. The opinion of the House had been clearly expressed in the case of the Arctic Expedition. It was stated that there was considerable difficulty in providing sufficient room for Chaplains; but the necessity of sending out two Chaplains was so strongly enforced on the Government that they were under the necessity of doing so. He did not say the cases were exactly analogous, but certainly there was a strong family resemblance between them, and beyond that it must be remembered that great difficulty would attend the withdrawal of the grants. Earl Granville's Circular alleged that the increased wealth of our merchants abroad showed it was unnecessary to continue these Treasury allowances; but he could combat that statement by extracts from the evidence adduced before the Committee, and which proved that at Hamburg, Trieste, Lisbon, Oporto, and other ports, the English communities were more numerous and less wealthy than at any period since the passing of the Act relating to the appointment of Consular Chaplains. The money value of these grants was certainly small, and unless an important principle had been involved, he would not have asked the House to re-consider the subject. Silence might, however, have been interpreted as an approval of the autocratic act of the Government. Such a policy was to be expected from those who avowed their contempt for religious ministrations of any kind, or who thought that the State had no concern in these matters. It might be excusable under pressure from opponents. But the present Government owed their position to the profession of principles which were quite opposed to Disestablishment, whether on a large or a small scale, and their conduct on this question was much regretted by their best friends. He still hoped, however, that at the eleventh hour, they would re-consider the withdrawal of the allowance, especially as such withdrawal had occurred without the sanction of the House; and, in order to give them the opportunity, he would move the Resolution.


Sir, as a Member of the Select Committee, appointed last year, to consider the question of Consular Chaplaincies, I shall be glad if the House will allow me to make a few observations in seconding the Resolution proposed by the hon. Gentleman the Member for South Leicestershire (Mr. Heygate). I will not enter into the legal point involved in the question, which was, I believe, decided by the late Law Officers of the Crown, who ruled—that Her Majesty's Government possessed the power, at any moment, of severing the connection hitherto subsisting between Consular Chaplains and the Crown. Moreover, this was made sufficiently clear by the speech of Mr. Huskisson in 1825, who, in proposing what he termed a change in the system of our Consular Establishments in foreign ports, said— As an encouragement to the British merchants residing at or resorting to those ports to provide the means of performing the important duties of religion, I shall propose in the Bill to give a power to the Government to advance a sum equal to the amount of any subscription which may he so raised, either for erecting a place of worship, providing a burial ground, or allotting a suitable salary to a chaplain in any foreign port where a British Consul may reside. Sir, I am quite ready to admit that the words—"give a power to the Government," in the passage I have quoted, conclusively prove that it will be competent for it, at any moment, to renounce this power. The sole question, therefore, as it appears to me for our consideration, is under what circumstances Government renounced this power, and whether it acted wisely in such renunciation? I will assume that the late as well as the present Government agree in opinion with the administration of which Mr. Huskisson was a distinguished ornament, that it is right for the British merchants and residents at Consular ports "to provide the means of performing the important duties of religion;" and I can, therefore, only suppose that the reason why the late Government withdrew, and the present Government concurred in the withdrawal of this subsidy termed by Mr. Huskisson "an encouragement" for such provision, was because, in their opinion, no such encouragement was needed. At any rate this was the ostensible reason, but behind there was, I imagine, another operating still more powerfully—the desire to economize £9,000 in the annual expenditure of the country. This I am entitled to infer from the circumstance that Lord Granville, in his Circular of July, 1873, to the Consuls, announcing the approaching withdrawal of the grant to Chaplains, said— That the Estimates were under his consideration with the view of carrying out the recommendations of the Committee of the House of Commons. Well, Sir, I turned to the Report of the Select Committee on the Consular Service, which sat in 1872, of which the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board was Chairman, and I found there a most flourishing account of the finance of the Consular Service. The total net charge was only £135,000, and the Committee said— These Estimates exhibit a reduction of. £5,000 as compared with those of the previous year, which, again, were lower by £7,300 than those of the year 1869–70. And by a tabular statement appended to the Report— It appears that the extra receipts in aid of the Consular expenditure have exhibited a steady increase during the past four years. Well, Sir, the Committee having made this satisfactory statement, proceeded to put the very natural question—"These things being so, why, it may be asked, should change be thought necessary?" and they answered by saying— That universal complaint of insufficient pay would alone prepare the Government for the necessity of looking about for some means of retrenchment to set off against increased cost of salaries. The Committee, in short, saw the absurdity, in the face of constantly increasing receipts and diminishing expenditure, of proposing any reduction in the Estimates without giving some reason, and they found one in the not uncommon complaint of insufficient pay. But even so, the Committee did not propose to effect these economies at the expense of Consular Chaplains. They recommended reductions in the Consular Court and establishments at Constantinople, and generally the suppression of what they termed redundant posts. They advocated the consolidation of Consulates in some places, but from the beginning to the end of their Report not one word did they say about Chaplains, or the £9,000 required for their support. Moreover, not a single question was put by any Member of this large and important Committee to the witnesses relative to Consular Chaplains and their stipends. I was about to close the book when two ominous little paragraphs in a Memorandum, put in by one of the witnesses, caught my eye. This Memorandum inserted in the Appendix was handed in by Major Crossman, Royal Engineers, sent out to arrange generally, not for the construction of churches, but of Consular barracks in China and Japan. Speaking of Kew-keang, Major Crossman said— I cannot refrain from pointing out the great expense incurred hero by Her Majesty's Government in giving half the cost of building a church for the benefit, as it now turns out, of about seven people, for those in the Chinese Service can bring no claim to the boon. At the time the money was given there were only 15. Government still pays half the Chaplain's salary—£200, I think. It is done under Act of Parliament 6 Geo. IV., c. 87; but I might venture to suggest that some revision of the Act might now be made. And then after remarking that before any money is granted there should be some certainty as to the number of the congregation, he concludes— It is hard that a taxpayer in England should have to pay the means required to secure the spiritual welfare of half-a-dozen tea-tasters on the banks of the Yangtze. Doubtless, this cynical remark must have suggested to Her Majesty's late Government the opportunity of effecting an annual saving at the expense of the spiritual welfare of the people thus contemptuously termed tea-tasters. But, in point of fact, I do not believe that the Government ever contributed to the building of a church for seven or even 15 people. Churches at Consular ports were built not so much for a stationary as for a migratory population frequenting those ports. I mean seamen—and I am confirmed in this impression by some interesting letters lately published, written by a lady, whose husband was employed in China. Speaking of Foochow, this lady says— The Seaman's Chapel was built, as its name denotes, specially for the benefit of sailors, of whom there are a great many here in summer, when the harbour is crowded with a perfect fleet of magnificent clippers, waiting to carry home their freight of tea. And three months from that time, the same lady wrote— We have for some time been in a most benighted state as regards service in the church. It was given up in consequence of the withdrawal of the Government grant having so materially reduced the income of the Consular Chaplain; he has returned to England, and no one has been yet found to take his place. Then the lady described the surprise of the native population, mentioned the circumstance that American missionaries had re-opened the English Church, and concluded by saying that, during what she termed "the clerical famine," "they had occasionally gone for service on board the man-of-war lying in the harbour." But it is said there are many churches in the interior of France, Germany, and other countries which receive no support from Government grants. Quite true. But, in all these cases, the churches, excepting the sums contributed by certain societies, are maintained by residents for residents, while in the Consular ports, by withdrawing the grants to Chaplains, you virtually compel the residents to make spiritual provision for the sailors and others touching at those ports. It is difficult to form a conception of the arduous nature of the duties of Chaplains stationed at South American ports. "We had it in evidence that one of them, independently of his work in hospital, which, although trying, nevertheless, had its consolations the Chaplain was obliged to trudge along a hot dusty road to his terrible cemetery duties, burying sometimes as many as eight corpses in one day, and no fewer than 257 in one year. Even the relations were afraid to attend, and oftener than not the Chaplain rejoiced at their absence. Sir, I ask the House is it fair, is it right, to expect merchants at foreign ports to find an educated gentleman to perform this work without any assistance from Her Majesty's Government? It is true that, in consequence of the Report of the Committee which sat last year, the present Administration has made exceptions at certain South American ports, and are thus far entitled to our gratitude; but I maintain that other exceptions should have been made, Mr. Wylde, who has been 37 years Superintendent of the Consular Service at the Foreign Office, who has visited most of the Consular Ports, and who probably knows more about this question than any other man now living, says— I would not have recommended the sweeping measure which has been adopted. I should have disestablished some of the Chaplaincies. I should have dealt with each case on its own merits; if you make exceptions in one or two cases, I do not see why you should not make exceptions in others. Sir, if the House will permit me, I will mention two places where, in my humble judgment, exceptions should have been made, but which, nevertheless, were not made—I mean Oporto and Hamburgh, to which the hon. Member for South Leicestershire (Mr. Heygate) has alluded. These two places are types of many others which might be placed in the same category. There is yet one other plea, and that by no means the weakest, which may be urged in favour of keeping Chaplains at Consular Ports under Government control. A Chaplain, partially supported by Government, may be required to give his attendance to seamen, whereas one maintained by the residents will naturally restrict his ministrations to them. Sir, I will not dwell on the cases of individual hardship abundantly proved before the Committee, of clergymen who had given up some livings, others the prospect of livings, to devote themselves to work in pestiferous climates, paying at the same time large sums to insurance offices for the privilege of living, and possibly of dying there—hardships, in many instances, aggravated by an almost unparalleled series of blunders on the part of the Treasury, who calculated the pensions to be awarded—first, on one basis, and then on another; who drew up schemes of retirement, which, even to so experienced a hand as Mr. Wylde, were totally incomprehensible, for he says— To toll the truth, the matter is in so incomplete a state, that we have asked the Treasury to draw up their own notice. The fact is there was an uncontrollable desire not for economy, but for cheeseparing, and so the fiat went forth, not as Mr. Wylde would have proposed, to re-arrange the Chaplaincies, but to disestablish them altogether. Never mind the dying and the dead in South American Ports, let the dead bury their dead—only make or rather save money "Recté si possis, si non, quocumque modo." Well, Sir, we may have saved £9,000 a-year, but have we not saved it, as has been well said, at the cost of ceasing to afford to all witnesses an example of the best side of our national character? In the words of the Bishop of Gibraltar— It is not only the existence of Chaplaincies which is at stake, but our name as a Christian people.

Amendment proposed, To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "in the opinion of this House, the withdrawal of Government Grants in aid of the maintenance of Consular Chaplains under the provisions of the Act 6 Geo. 4, c. 87, is uncalled for and inexpedient, and should be reconsidered by Her Majesty's Government,"—(Mr. Heygate,) —instead thereof.


said, the surprise, grief, and mortification with which quiet, thoughtful people of all parties, and of all views as to religious matters received Earl Granville's startling announcement two years ago that these grants were to be withdrawn, was only equalled by that which was felt when the present Government—in a spirit which he (Mr. Beresford Hope) could qualify by no milder term than indifference—announced that this Act of their Predecessors was unreformable and irrefragable. There had been no public call for the change; there was, on the contrary, a great deal of disappointment and disgust when it came out that our high national character for religion and generous consideration had thereby been paltered with. He did not hear that even the Liberation Society passed a vote of thanks to the late Foreign Secretary. It was a passing craze of the Foreign Office of that day; but the scheme was practically only on paper when the present Ministry came into office, for the Chaplains were mostly still at their posts serving out their remaining terms. No doubt a formal policy had to be overtly reversed, and certain formalities would have to be gone through; but, in the meantime, the Chaplains were in their year of grace, and no inconvenience would have been inflicted on anyone by restoring, or rather by maintaining, the old system. In its defence he felt almost ashamed to urge that the principle was plainly obvious that a nation which had entered into such great commercial engagements in all parts of the world, and for the benefit of whose merchant seamen the House had during the present Session spent so many weary hours of debate, had special duties also to those seamen and those officials who were engaged in carrying on that commerce. They were told last evening that "England was still mistress of the seas"—a sentiment that produced a refreshing cheer—and this was the kindness she showed to her sea children when they were from home. There was another thing which made the matter more amazing. No doubt one of the great reasons which created that dissatisfaction throughout the country was the disestablishment proclivities of the Party which supported the late Government—a Government which had itself taken so gigantic a first step in that direction—and the fear lest it should be applied to the Church of England. The constituencies at the hustings, with no uncertain voice, had said "No!" to that policy as proposed to be applied to England. In the manner which this little pilot balloon had been started only a trifling £9,000 was at stake. The straw was thrown up to try the wind, and we had the mortification to see the present Ministry floating it with their breath. The very small-ness of this experiment in home disestablishment ought to make the House jealous of the principle lying behind it. What, then, was the lesson of the General Election, and what would the Government lose by giving a promise to re-consider this grievance? It had come in strong by the help of Churchmen, and one of its first actions was to make itself an accomplice after the fact in this vexatious spoliation. Let them dare to be consistent to their principles, and true to the country which gave them their mission, by disregarding the adverse criticisms of the other side of the House. Let them try a division on the point, and he had no doubt what would be the verdict of the House of Commons. If, however, this were lost, the time would soon come when they would have to abandon a great deal more. He, however, had no fear of so unfortunate a result. The sum at stake was a miserable £9,000, but in refusing to confiscate this pittance, small in its aggregate, but one the beneficent influence of which was widely felt, they would be setting the seal to the declaration of the country, that a national recognition of religion was right, and that in the Church of England that recognition was made in a shape alike scriptural, practical, tolerant, and popular.


denied that any religious considerations—High Church, Low Church, or no Church—had anything to do with this change. It arose entirely from the fact that these grants were very greatly abused. In many places the British residents had availed themselves of the Consular Acts to establish a church to be paid out of these grants, while they were able enough to maintain it from their own funds. It was in consequence of frequent complaints on this score that the Committee had been appointed; and the people of this country naturally objected to be taxed for the support of such establishments.


said, the question which the House had to consider was as to how far the action of the Executive Government with reference to a particular Act of Parliament was in conformity with that Act, and how far in violation of it. He considered it somewhat remarkable that, after a close examination and much discussion in Committee, if there was any difference of opinion all opposition was withdrawn, and the Report was signed by the Chairman as an unanimous Report. Such a Report surely deserved some consideration. It was adopted unanimously after evidence had been given by witnesses, every one of whom had been summoned by the Chairman himself; and, so far from being antagonistic to the evidence taken, it was founded upon that evidence. The witnesses examined were all admitted to be most competent men, and he (Mr. Cartwright) denied that their evidence was all against disestablishment and that the Report was contrary to the evidence. He would only refer to two—Mr. Wylde, the head of the Consular Department, and a gentleman who had been a Consular Chaplain abroad for 47 years. Mr. Wylde was asked whether in his experience of the Foreign Office, which extended over 40 years, he had known of any instance of the abolition of Consular Chaplaincies or the reduction of their salaries by the Foreign Office, and his reply was that within the last 10 or 15 years the grants had been withdrawn from several places. He was asked as to the terms on which these Chaplaincies were abolished, and his answer was—"We simply withdrew the contribution, and let the matter rest with the congregation." He was asked, did the Chaplain in such a case receive any pension? The reply was—"Most certainly not." The other witness to whom he alluded was the representative of an abolished Chaplaincy, and his case was one which was supposed to constitute the grievance into which the Committee had to inquire. The gentleman in question, the Rev. Mr. White, on being asked whether, if the salary were withdrawn, the chaplaincy would be abolished, replied—"No; it never would be abolished." The Committee investigated the whole subject most carefully, and in their Report they stated there were places that were exceptionally circumstanced, and that those places should be dealt with exceptionally. He did not attach much weight to the lugubrious vaticinations that had been indulged in as to what might happen among the hot plains and the swamps of South America, if these grants for Chaplaincies were withdrawn, and in the case of Alexandria he was informed upon the best authority that the English residents were now better provided with spiritual aid than before, and that the church was so prosperous that the Chaplain had refused a large pecuniary gift because they had got so much money that he did not know what to do with it.


said, it was in consequence of the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs informing the Committee that more would be done for the Consular Chaplains if the Committee were unanimous in their opinion, that the Report was drawn up in its present mild form. His hon. Friend might recollect that there were on that Committee some who wished to mark strongly their disapproval of the Circular issued by Lord Granville, and to embody their views in the Report itself; and he might also recollect that it was only at his earnest solicitations that these objections were eventually withdrawn. It was hardly fair, then, now to cast in their teeth the unanimity of that Report. If the Committee had had its own way there would have been more done for them than it seemed had actually been the case. It had been said that some of the grants had been misapplied, but he, as a Member of the Committee, had not heard any evidence to that effect of a satisfactory character. He had been one of a deputation to Lord Derby on the subject, and he quite felt the force of the remark that it was difficult for a Government to reverse the policy of their Predecessors; but he thought there were strong reasons why those grants should be given, and which especially ought to weigh with all who professed to be Christians. That was that a country where an Established Church existed should do something, however small, for its Consular Chaplains abroad. There was no reason for their withdrawal. He should be sorry to see any division on the question, but if the House divided upon the Motion he should vote in support of it. He knew these Chaplains were doing a great deal of good, and he hoped the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs would see his way to restore these grants, at least to some extent, and that next year instead of the sum asked to be voted standing at £2,250 it would be considerably enlarged.


said, he had not charged abuse; he had only spoken of grants being received where the congregation consisted of very few persons.


having been a Member of the Committee upon the subject, and seeing the Government in a difficulty, deprecated the remarks of the hon. Member who had last spoken, remarking that he had threatened the Government with excommunication if they acted contrary to his own opinion. He assured the Government that he (Mr. Kinnaird) would heartily support the policy which had been most successful, and he instanced Paris as a city having far more church accommodation since the abolition of the Chaplaincies. In that city, there were now three English churches and Wes-leyan, Baptist, and other voluntary congregations.


thought that if the matter were looked at calmly, the House would arrive at the conclusion unanimously come to by the Committee and adopted by the late Government. The Committee was carefully selected, and was strong in hon. Members who were warmly in favour of the principle of maintaining Chaplains. The Report of the Committee was therefore accepted as a settlement of the question, and he trusted that unprejudiced Members would now arrive at the same conclusion. The question was first raised in 1869, when inquiry was instituted, a reduction was made in the Consular Chaplaincies of China, and grants were withdrawn without anything being said against the measure. It had since been felt that the principle which had guided two Governments was a just one. The paragraph in Lord Granville's despatch which had been quoted, was one which, when candidly looked at, must be concurred in; but if an adverse view were taken of that paragraph, that fact would commit us to establish Consular Agencies all over the world. That paragraph stated that it certainly could not be incumbent upon the Government to subsidize churches where British residents were settled in large numbers, nor to maintain a Church establishment at a great commercial port, when it could be done with little effort by the resident merchants. That was a principle which Her Majesty's Government were not prepared to controvert, and which the House of Commons would not disagree with. He should be very glad if what he was about to say could give any great amount of comfort to those with whom the hon. Members behind him sympathized so much. They were, no doubt, most excellent and worthy men, and they had done great service among English subjects in foreign countries. As the case, however, had been put by hon. Members—he was not alluding to his hon. Friend the Member for South Leicestershire (Mr. Heygate)—it might be supposed that these Chaplains were turned out of their Chaplaincies, and had become paupers. That, however, was not the case; because, in addition to the pensions given to them in every case, they would still be supported in the different localities by the voluntary contributions of those who, as the Government thought, certainly had the right to support them. He should like to call the attention of the House to the evidence of a great authority on the other side. Mr. White was called to prove that these grants ought to be continued, but he disproved everything that he was called to establish, and proved the exact opposite. Being asked whether the English residents in Oporto were not sufficiently numerous and wealthy to maintain a Chaplain, and whether the Chaplaincy would be abolished if the grant were withdrawn?—he said it would not, and that it would never be abolished. Mr. White was then asked whether there were not a sufficient number of persons interested in the trade of Oporto to support a Chaplain. He replied that there were gentlemen at home making large fortunes in Oporto and elsewhere, and if each would only subscribe a very small sum they could support any number of Chaplains that were necessary to the establishment. The hon. Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Beresford Hope) could not be serious when he placed this question on the ground of Disestablishment. If the action of the Government on this subject had the smallest similarity to Disestablishment, he (Mr. Bourke) should be the last person to support it. The establishment of Consular Chaplaincies had not the slightest similarity to the Establishment of the Church of England, or the Church of Scotland. He agreed with the hon. and gallant Member for South Ayrshire (Colonel Alexander) that each case must be treated on its own individual merits, and in that view, the Committee went minutely into the case of each Chaplaincy. As an opinion had been attributed to him by the hon. Member for Guildford (Mr. Onslow) which he never expressed, he wished to explain that what he did say was, that he thought it desirable that the Report of the Committee should be unanimous, because, if so, it would be accepted by the House and the country as a final settlement of the question. He still held that opinion, and he trusted that the House would support the Committee in their decision. The Government had made a considerable change in the Chaplaincies of South America. In the case of Pernambuco, the Chaplaincy had been re-established. The Chaplain had returned to this country, but another person had been sent out. The cases of Bahia and St. Thomas had also been specially treated. There was a great deal of English shipping in the Danish Islands, and as there were many English sailors at St. Thomas, the Government thought that a case had been made out for keeping up the Chaplaincy there. The Government would retain a right to act upon their discretion, and there was nothing to prevent them from re-establishing a Consular Chaplain in any of the places from which the allowances had been withdrawn. He trusted, however, that the Government would be supported in adhering to the unanimous recommendation of the Committee. They did not adhere to that recommendation simply because their Predecessors had formed the same opinion; but, unless a strong case were made out, the Government were of opinion that the principles laid down by the late Government, and acted upon by the Foreign Office, ought still to be the rule of the Consular Service. He could not assent to the Motion.


having been Chairman of the Committee, wished to make a few remarks. He did not complain so much of Lord Granville or hon. Gentlemen opposite. He thought the policy they advocated in abolishing the Chaplaincies was only in consonance and harmony with their other acts; but he did complain that a Conservative Government should carry out that policy, and that a Minister should rise from the Treasury Bench to court the cheers of hon. Gentlemen opposite against his own Friends. He had had much experience at the Foreign Office in the department relating to Consular Chaplains, and he had also had occasion to visit places abroad where he had seen the merits of the institution. The abolition of the Chaplaincies took place before he had the honour of a seat in the House, and he felt the hopelessness of outside agitation, but as soon as he had obtained that honour he asked the Question of the Government on the subject, and he was strongly advised from Governmental quarters to have the matter represented to the noble Lord at the head of the Foreign Office. He therefore recommended those who objected to the withdrawal of these allowances to represent their case to Lord Derby. Accordingly, one of the most important and influential deputations that ever waited on a Minister went to the Foreign Office. It included 50 or 60 Members of Parliament, representing both Universities, the City of London, and many counties and large towns, and they represented to Lord Derby the necessity of reversing the decision of Lord Granville. Lord Derby, however, met the deputation in anything but a conciliatory spirit. If they had waited on Lord Granville, they would scarcely have been worse treated. The noble Lord told them that the Government could not alter a course which had been adopted deliberately, and the reversion of which would not be consistent with the temper of the House of Commons. For his own part he did not know where the noble Lord got his information from. He was surprised and astonished to hear such a declaration from a Member of a Conservative Government that commanded large majorities. The fact was, however, that it was five years since the noble Lord had sat in that House, and that during the time he held a seat in it there had never been a Conservative majority. He confessed that when 50 Members of that House, holding influential positions, went to the Foreign Office, he was astonished at this declaration on the part of a Conservative Minister after the General Election that had just been held. The Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs had laid great stress upon the Report of the Committee being unanimous. But why was it unanimous? The hon. Gentleman was far too good an official not to take his tone from his Chief, and the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs took the part of hon. Gentlemen opposite the whole time, and turned round upon those who supported a Conservative Government. When he saw this, he (Sir H. Drummond Wolff) felt then that their case was hopeless—that there was nothing to do but throw up the sponge and adopt the principle of Sauve qui peut. He adopted the advice of the hon. Gentleman, fearing that if the Report of the Committee were not unanimous, it would have no weight with the House or the country. He accepted the Report as the minimum of what he felt was wanted; but it was a wretched alternative. What he wanted was the contents of the Report which he himself had drawn up. To that he adhered, and that he hoped to obtain. He admitted that hon. Gentlemen opposite had acted in a spirit of great conciliation; but he denied that the conduct of the Government was in accordance with the feeling of the country, or the pledges given by Conservative candidates on the hustings, and he would not be satisfied unless the Government reconsidered the matter. He should certainly vote in favour of the Motion of his hon. Friend if the House divided, for he maintained that those who were brought into power by the assistance of the Church ought to do something for the Church.


said, he would not enter into the general question, but he would say that it ought to be pointed out that the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down was the Chairman of the Select Committee, and the Report, which was the basis of that adopted, was drawn up by the hon. Member himself. [SIR H. DRUMMOND WOLFF: I beg your pardon, not the basis at all.] He (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) would frankly own he had never looked at the draft Report; but on looking at the one put into his hands, he found, at all events, that it contained the principal paragraphs of the draft Report submitted by the Chairman of the Select Committee. In that draft Report the Chairman went into cases of hardship, and then laid down the principle that considerable hardship would be inflicted both on communities and on individuals unless some modifications were introduced into the decision come to by Lord Granville, and that the exemptions in the Circular of Lord Granville should be considerably extended and enlarged. That was what he called the basis and principle of the Report, and he held that the House were fairly entitled to look upon such a Report of the Committee as being intended to be a settlement of the question. The hon. Gentleman said that the Committee were not treated fairly. For his part, he (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) thought that the Committee had not treated the House fairly, if their Report was to be read in the sense which the hon. Gentleman had put upon it. Instead of "throwing up the sponge," the hon. Gentleman, as Chairman, ought to have taken the opinion of the Committee and got the majority to approve of his Report. When action had already been taken, it was difficult to reverse that action. He could only repeat what had been said by his hon. Friend (Mr. Bourke), that the principle of the Report appeared to be that the different cases should be looked into, and where cases of hardship were discovered, they should be dealt with. Upon that principle the Government were prepared to act, and if a necessity was shown for further exemptions, they should be made.


thought it would be wise not to press the Motion of his hon. Friend the Member for South Leicestershire (Mr. Heygate) to a division. He would not enter into the question how the Committee came to their decision. He understood that they recommended that it should be open to the Government to re-open the question where cases of hardship were pointed out, and he was glad to hear the Chancellor of the Exchequer deliberately state that the Government would act on that recommendation, and that such cases should have their favourable consideration. He therefore strongly recommended his hon. Friend not to divide.


added his appeal to the hon. Member for South Leicestershire (Mr. Heygate) not to press his Motion to a division. But he hoped the Government would take a proper view of this question, and continue to provide spiritual ministrations in those places abroad where the English laity were unable to pay the salaries of Chaplains. If Her Majesty's Government were not prepared to promise that they would deal in that spirit with this subject, he would advise his hon. Friend to insist on a division. What was felt so strongly was not so much the hardships of individual Chaplains, but the injury and neglect which Her Majesty's Government had appeared to sanction with regard to the spiritual wants of British residents abroad.


said, that after the conciliatory speech which had been made on the part of the Government, and the promise that the matter would be considered, he would withdraw his Motion. ["No, no!"]

Amendment negatived.